Behind the Scenes at the DAM

Chocolate Fever at Untitled #53 (Aftermath)

If you didn’t get enough chocolate over the holidays (if that’s a yes, then I have some bags of toffee to share), Untitled has a late season gift for you. Untitled final Friday is back for a shiny, brand new season on January 25, 6–10 pm. During Untitled #53 (Aftermath), we’ll be looking at cultural consequences, artistic ending points, and, more specifically, chocolate.

In this life-size tile wall panel made from Majolica ceramic tiles we can see a man and woman in Spain serving sweets and cups of chocolate in the late 1700s. Serving Sweets and Chocolate, About 1775, Tile mural from Corona Street in Valencia, Spain, Earthenware, lead/tin glaze, in-glaze paints, Now in Museo Nacional de Cerámica, Valencia, Spain.

Chocolate was cultivated and consumed by ancient civilizations in Mexico for centuries before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. The beans of the cacao tree were fermented, dried, roasted, ground on a heated stone, or metate, and mixed with water and spices, including chile, to make a drink. Spaniards learned to drink chocolate from the Maya in the Yucatan and the Aztecs in central Mexico. The Spanish fell in love with the sweet treat, serving it in the kitchens of the Americas, banquet halls of Europe, and even to their troops, in the form of solid bars.

Courtesy POMM.com.

During Untitled, DAM support group Alianza and DU professor Annabeth Headrick will reveal how food became the cause for conquest in a tour of the pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial collections. After you collect enough chocolate facts to wow your friends, or stump your valentine, stop by the freight elevator on level 4 of the North Building for a tasting of this sweet elixir. Local chocolatiers Damaris Graves and Katelyn Fox of POMM will be simmering, stewing and serving cups of hot chocolate inspired by Mesoamerican recipes. POMM is a Denver-based company that makes specialty bean-to-bar chocolate. The Mini-Talking To: Food for Thought tours start at 7:30, 8, and 8:30, and chocolate tastings are in the freight from 7:45 to 8:45 pm.

And if chocolate is just too much after the holidays, we’ve arranged to have some help on the opposite end of the spectrum. A nutritionist will be on hand to give detours of the collections, sharing insights on nutrition reboots in the aftermath of the holiday season. If you’re wondering what’s happening at the rest of Untitled, here it is: chat with photographer Laura Letinsky, who has an exhibition on view here, or take in a talk about old school still lives with DAM staff; hear a mini-performance by Esmé Patterson of local band Paper Bird; play some Jenga; paint a masterpiece; snap photos for a prize; and park in front of the freight elevator for a performance by Buntport Theater.  Welcome back to Untitled!

You can view the event listing on our calendar and RSVP on Facebook.

Jaime Kopke is the adult and college program manager in the education department at the Denver Art Museum. She has been with the DAM since 2011 and is always scouting for community creatives to collaborate with for A&C programs. Send her an email.